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Acute Inflamation

My feet and ankles hurt! And they are swollen and red after I fell down. What do I do? Inflammation is the normal response to irritation, injury, or surgery. Acute inflammation is an immediate response to trauma. Chronic inflammation is a long-term response to a medical condition like arthritis.

Infection is inflammation caused by a virus, bacterial or fungus. Same symptoms, different treatment. A medical examination is prudent to rule out the inflammation that comes with infection!

What are the symptoms of acute inflammation? Pain, swelling, redness and increased warmth of the skin. Bruising can also occur.

Treatment for acute inflammation follow the R-I-C-E principal. 

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Anti-inflammatories

The earlier after an injury you start treatment, the faster your inflammation will subside. 

What do I do if my pain increases?

  • Call the office or contact your doctor immediately if your symptoms persist more than 3 days or are getting progressively worse. Sounds like common sense, but you would not believe the number of people who wait weeks to seek medical attention and find out they have a broken bone or a severe infection. Do not hesitate! A FAANT doctor is always on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your foot and ankle emergencies.
  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Naproxen or Ibuprofen can be quite helpful. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if these are safe for you to take with any of your other medications. 
  • The proper level of elevation is always a debate in our house. Your foot should be elevated to level or just higher than your heart. This allows the fluid to drain to your heart. Make sure your hips and knees are slightly bent for comfort.
  • Compress the area with an elastic bandage or stocking. This will decrease the swelling in the area. Loosen the bandage if your toes turn blue, goes numb or if your foot is throbbing more with compression than it was before. Again, if you have poor circulation, ask your doctor before compressing your foot.
  • Ice your foot about 20 minutes every hour with an ice pack, frozen vegetables or a bag of ice wrapped in a towel. If you have poor circulation, ask your doctor if you can ice safely. If your skin turns blue, STOP! Never put the ice pack directly in the skin. There is nothing more embarrassing than self-induced frost-bite!
  • Stay off your foot. Sounds simple, but this is the part most of my patients fail at. Sit down, the world will not stop revolving if you take a little down time!